Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Passing Fancy

If Times Square were still sleazy, I'd have flashed THIS ONE

Grant Tinker, Sitcom Legend and Former NBC Chairman, Is Dead at 90

Sad to read about the passing of Grant Tinker, who along with then-wife Mary Tyler Moore created one of the most successful television production companies in history. MTM Enterprises was responsible for Moore's namesake show, as well as spinoffs "Rhoda," "Phyllis" and "The Lou Grant Show," as well as '70s classics "The Bob Newhart Show," "WKRP in Cincinnati" and "Hill Street Blues" He later was tapped to run last-place NBC, stunning everyone by turning it into the No. 1 network with "The Cosby Show," "Family Ties," "Cheers," "The Golden Girls" and "Miami Vice." Although he and Moore divorced in 1981, they remained close friends. Every night before I go to bed I watch a little Mary and Bob, which I still believe are the two best sitcoms of all time. RIP.

Wrestle Wednesday

It's like these coaches just can't keep THEIR GRUBBY HANDS out of the COOKIE JAR.

Last Dance for Chelsea's Cafe Bamba

Another carcass spotted along Chelsea's 8th Avenue. Cafe Bamba, just off 8th on West 20th where Trois Canards was most recently, has abruptly closed up shop. Sometimes my neighborhood -- in the middle of the most crowded island in the world -- looks like the landscape of a town that was left behind when its industry dried up. Businesses have always come and gone -- only about 50 percent survive four to five years. But the rate of failure on this once-bustling avenue -- where even chain stores cannot afford the rent -- has me perplexed as to why the mayor cannot force building owners to charge reasonable rents instead of letting them sit empty for literally years before finding a sucker who finally falls for it only to have their dream go belly up in record time. 

On the brighter side, the Square Deli just opened (on 8th between 18th and 19th) in what was most recently the gay clothing store Efor (and before that Lightforms). The deli has a full grill and decent selection of groceries. Having lost the Pine Tree (which became Brooklyn Industries but is now vacant) and the deli by the old 18th & 8th, this is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

The Bangles Return to the Sunset Strip

Order "Ladies and Gentlemen ... the Bangles!" HERE.

Great interview with the Bangles -- Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson and Debbi Peterson -- about their upcoming three-night stand at the Whisky A Go Go HERE.

But will founding bassist Annette Zilinskas be there?

Debbie Harry's New England Retreat

Call me a bad superfan, but the last I cared heard Debbie Harry had her place in Chelsea's London Terrace and a home in Red Bank, N.J., close to Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Turns out she just bought a second property in Roxbury, Conn., onetime home of Marilyn Monroe,and Arthur Miller, plus current residents Dustin Hoffman, Graydon Carter, Denis Leary and   Stephen Sondheim.

Now 71, the talented blonde has expanded to Connecticut, where she bought a Roxbury retreat for $785,000 — a property that was built in 1795. The listing broker was also the seller, Halstead’s Jill Sloane — who had also sold Harry a neighboring property for $185,000 last year.

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is 2,685 square feet and sits on 3.47 acres.

It boasts a charming kitchen with a farm sink, a grand entertaining room with a fireplace, ceiling beams and French doors opening to a front patio.

The corner master bedroom also features a sitting room with a fireplace and windowed master bath. The home comes with original details, like its wide-plank flooring.
So Lucy Ricardo of her!

The US Festival Revisited

I remember wanting the US Festival(s) to be my generation's version of Woodstock, yet feeling kinda underwhelmed by it all. despite many of my favorite groups being involved. Although I only saw it on television, something about the hot Inland Empire setting with all of that dust blowing around seemed like the antithesis of a good time, confirming my suspicions that concert festivals, like cruises, just weren't for me. (A live version of "Money" by the Pretenders was the best thing I got out of it.) Still, I wasn't actually there, so I'm open to learning more. But if a documentary is to be made to set the record straight, can't multibillionaire festival founder Steve Wozniak pick up the tab instead of begging "us" for cash?

From the Kickstarter pitch:

Remember the US FESTIVAL!

When Music, Technology, People Were UNITED... IN SONG

New documentary film on the innovative and influential 1982 US FESTIVAL - remastered music; never-before-told stories; never-before-seen footage; featured interviews from then and now; campaign now live on Kickstarter!


This campaign is to complete a feature-length documentary on the 1982 US Festival ("US" as in "you and me"), a magnificent, innovative, influential, and sometimes forgotten West Coast mega-concert. The film is mostly done, some of the music is licensed and cleared, this campaign allows us to license additional music and finish post production. If you've not heard about The US Festival, that's either a function of your age, or probably because the story has never been told. It's a really good story though - and we're very proud to tell it.

1982 lineup. It was 110 degrees that weekend and 100 arrests, plus 35 drug overdoses. The festival lost a reported $12 million.

1983 lineup. The reprise festival lost another $12 million and two people reportedly lost their lives.

Wednesday Ad Watch

I have?

Alt Universe

Good entry. But the problem isn't that people don't really understand what it means. The problem is people are flocking to the movement because they DO KNOW what it's really about.

Song of the Day: 'Biggest Part of Me' by Ambrosia

At dark times like this, sometimes the only thing to do is stay in bed and listen to Ambrosia. 

Morning Wood

Page 1 Roundup (11/30)

It's funny how socialism -- i.e., the state paying businesses to keep jobs in Indiana with taxpayer money-- is a-OK when Republicans do it. Read HERE

Mom’s boyfriend charged after 3-year-old boy is found with skull fracture, covered in feces in Brooklyn home / Read HERE.

Trump taps Hollywood's Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary / Read HERE.

Get Thee to a Brokerage! Low Rates Turn Nuns Into Traders / Read HERE.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Developing Madonna Story

More details on Richard Corman's 66 unearthed Madonna Polaroids HERE!

Cornell Vet School Delivers 12 Months of Animal Magnetism

This might be the first known case of a horse in favor of bestiality. 

Order HERE.

Urgent Call

Get a pair HERE.

WATCH: Plenty of bulge action between 2:45 and 3:02.

Big Ben Slims Down for Beefcake Spread

The 2017 Ben Cohen calendar has arrived -- although oddly it doesn't seem to feature the BIGGER VERSION of the LGBT ally. 

'Reality' Check

I remember not liking "Reality Bites" as much as I thought I would. But I do very much like seeing Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke all grown up together at the premiere of "Born to Be Blue," in which the latter plays jazz great Chet Baker. Read HERE.

Nico's Rico Speedo

If "Younger" star Nico Tortorella is "sexually fluid" then I guess you have to be Rip Taylor to be gay.

UPDATE: He had some competition from Colin in a red Speedo!

Major Daddy

Simon says I should have been paying attention to Gerald McRaney when I was a kid!

Moore Is Less

I see the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Read HERE.

Song of the Day: 'Breathe In' by Frou Frou

Just discovered this little gem from 2002, which is about the most "recent" song I've caught onto in years!

Morning Wood

Page 1 Roundup (11/29)

I've never understood this logic: You're a minority who is upset because people are painting your group with a wide brush of negativity -- so your response is to DO EXACTLY WHAT STUPID PEOPLE THINK all of you do? (Maybe in the ACT Up days when everyone was saying all gays have AIDS, I should have gone out and contracted the disease ... you know. to "show" them.)

Sigh. Read HERE.

Waterboarding 2.0 / Read HERE.

Estonian Troops Have Never Fought a Cold War—Thanks to Pop-Up Saunas / Read HERE.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Feeling 'Insecure'

Damn. I see I'm not the only one completely blown away by Issa Rae's "Insecure." Here's hoping it gets picked up for another season. 

Grey's Anatomy

Anyone know what these sexy med students are doing HERE?

Circular Jeopardy

From HERE.

Sigh. Can't these past couple weeks count as time served?

Fit Lad Alert

See what Prince Harry looked like playing cricket in St. Lucia on his 15-day tour of the Caribbean HERE.

Ron Glass, Who Played a Dashing Detective on ‘Barney Miller,’ Dies at 71

Sad news from the 12th Precinct, as my favorite detective, Ron Harris, has left the building. Read his New York Times obituary HERE

My brother Terence and I loved the episode where Harris was desperately looking for a new apartment, then is heard whispering on the phone "in Yonkers" because he was so embarrassed that his beer budget couldn't fund his Champagne tastes!

The Downfall of Old Town Tempe's Mill Avenue

Although my parents now live halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, I did manage to spend a little time around my former college campus while attending the Festival of Lights parade, which featured my adorable niece, Ally, as a fairy princess. Tempe's Mill Avenue is kind of my Arizona equivalent of Chelsea's 8th Avenue, as both were once the major drag of a fun part of town before rising rents and gentrification turned them into a haven for chain stores. 

Mill Avenue is where my friends Greg, Yuki, Teanah, Deanna and I would ditch high school to visit, spending the day in thrift stores and record shops. (Although our lives were anything but a John Hughes film, I do recall that we may have spontaneously started to walk like Madness down the avenue once!) I've written about the demise of the boulevard of many new wave dreams before, but this time I managed to retrace my youthful steps to locate some of the former stores that once housed the Valley's coolest spots.

The Mill Avenue Shops once housed Roads to Moscow, the punk/new wave record store where my mom haggled with a mohawked clerk to procure a promotional light box for Debbie Harry's "Koo Koo" LP for a Christmas present for me in 1982.

 (It was my favorite gift ever!)

It was also the home to the travel agency where I bought my first tickets abroad -- a trip to London with my friend Kristen followed by attending the 1987 French Open in Paris.

524 S. Mill Ave.

This is where the original Zia Record Exchange was. My friend Greg and I would enter the store then divide and conquer -- trying to snatch up the latest 12-inch singles from Bananarama, Mari Wilson, Marilyn and the like. The store later moved south to University Avenue during the CD heyday, and has apparently since moved again to Mill and Broadway, which I've yet to visit. (Owner Brian Faber died in September.)

My sister and my nephew (AJ) entered a candy store on Mill that I immediately recognized as the original Changing Hands Bookstore -- only it seemed smaller. Sure enough, a Google search revealed that the space along with 4 One 4 pizza next door made up the superb book store -- it was the staircase inside Candy Addict that gave it away! -- where I landed a used copy of "The Joy of Gay Sex" back in 1988 with my friend Greg plus Mark, Brad and JR who were in town to surprise me for my 21st birthday. (I remember being ashamed that I was getting turned on my drawings in the manual!) 

Just north of the old Changing Hands was the home of the Old Spaghetti Factory, where my family would frequently go for empty carbs and free spumoni on special occasions.

What now is School of Rock was where Graffiti's nightclub was, which I've noted was where I was (with my friend Chantal) the night we found out Andy Warhol had died

(My sister remembers the club later being called 411 long after I'd left town.)

My friends and I went there to be new wave, NOT gay!

The famed Coffee Plantation, which was truly ahead of its time, is now a Five Guys (sigh). I used to spend hours in there studying and checking out all the hot Arizona State guys. 

My friend Debra held poetry readings there, which was the artsiest thing I'd ever seen up until that point!

The Mill Avenue location was the first.

It opened when I was in college in 1989 and closed on May 30, 2009. 

About the only thing left from my heyday -- save for a Native American bookstore that I rarely set foot in -- is the Valley Art cinema, where I saw "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with my brother Bill and my best-friend-turned-tormenter Jim back in ninth grade, and where I fell in love with indie films. 

And last but not least, Long Wong's is long gone. In 2015, New Times remembered the venue as the former epicenter of the Tempe scene during its glory years and the nucleus of an interconnected network of musicians, clubs, and fans. An esteemed institution that hummed with live music nightly for 16 years straight, it’s where bands wanted to be seen and heard. Although the Gin Blossoms will forever be linked to the place, they weren’t the only ones that made its tiny stage their home. The list of those who were featured at Wong’s is nearly endless: The Beat Angels. Zen Lunatics. The Pistoleros. The Refreshments. Busted Hearts. Gloritone. Revenants. Trophy Husbands. Flathead. Even the late Elvis “The Cat” Delmonte, an entertainingly eccentric artist, even got stage time. Long Wong’s ultimately was a barometer of Tempe’s music scene, rising in prominence and importance as interest in its brand of rock and pop did the same. Its closure in 2004 came as a blow and surprise to many, even after the spotlight on Mill had long since faded. And though Long Wong’s was demolished to reportedly make way for future development along Mill, its plot has remained vacant ever since, serving as an occasional parking lot and a gaping reminder of what was.

(Forgot to photograph the former homes of Q N Brew, Stan's Metro Deli, Panic City! and Tower Records.) While there's no denying change is inevitable, and that people tend to view the past with rose-colored glasses, there's no denying Mill Avenue is a corporatized shell of what it used to be.